Solar battery rebate falls flat for north-east Victoria

10 July 2019

Daniel Andrews’ claim that he is “for all Victorians” once again doesn’t hold up after the introduction of the solar battery rebate on 1 July.

Tim McCurdy Member for Ovens Valley said the Solar Victoria website indicates the pilot battery rebate scheme was being used to help identify demand and battery usage in Victoria.

“What it should say that is that the scheme is being used to identify demand and usage in Labor seats located mainly in metro-Melbourne and its immediate surrounds,” he said.

“North-east Victoria and some other rural areas do not even get a look in.”

Mr McCurdy said the battery rebates are available to people in “designated suburbs” – 25 postcodes in total – which were chosen based on specific criteria.  This includes the postcode being a growth suburb; at least 10 per cent of homes in the suburb must have solar panels; and the suburb must be in an area where the electricity grid can cope with the additional power the battery will provide.

“But twenty-three of the 25 postcodes sit within Labor electorates,” Mr McCurdy said.

‘Surely there were other non-Labor suburbs, or country towns, which could have been considered?”

“Let’s use Wangaratta as an example. According to the Hume Regional Growth Plan, Wangaratta is a medium-to-high growth area and in its 3677 postcode 19.1 per cent of the homes have solar panels,” he said.

“So are we being told that the Wangaratta grid can’t handle the demand the batteries would take off the network?”

Mr McCurdy also said that there were homes in the Ovens Valley with an export limit on their solar systems that could definitely benefit from the solar battery rebate.

“Homes in places like Eldorado don’t have the network capacity to export solar power back to the grid which means their systems can be running at less than 90 per cent of their capacity resulting in hundreds of dollars in wasted electricity generation each year,” he said.

“Allowing these home access to the battery rebate means they could store that energy which would stop that wastage, take demand off the network and in turn save a household money.”

“So that’s at least two postcodes in Victoria’s north-east that could have been designated for the pilot rebate. But Labor is not for all Victorians – just its own.”

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